North Carolina continues to offer in-person sports betting at two tribal locations, but is that enough to curb the appetite of Tarheel State gamblers looking to lay some action on their favorite games?
While retail sportsbook locations are a nice perk and offer certain physical elements of wagering that some gamblers adore, most bettors prefer online options that allow them to partake at any time of day from the location of their choice.
Who could blame them? With gas prices rising every day, who wants to crank up their car and travel several miles (and potentially hours) to Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort or Harrah’s Cherokee River Valley and then sit around waiting for a payout?
Sports betting in North Carolina is now showing signs of progress in the realm of online sportsbooks as state legislators are preparing to weigh in on bills that could usher in a broader gambling spectrum in NC.
Current language would allow for 12 licenses to be granted to mobile sportsbooks based inside of North Carolina’s borders and open to 21+ gamblers.
That grants in-state sports bettors plenty of options to shop the odds at one of their dozen sportsbook apps or two in-person locations, but does it completely cut out offshore gambling sites based overseas?
Not completely. International sports betting sites allow for North Carolina-based gamblers to join and lay some action on sports at the age of 18. That’s a full 36 months earlier than domestic sportsbooks in NC.
“When individuals see [offshore sportsbook sites] that are doing the same thing and doing it in our state, and we’re not getting any revenue from it, a light bulb kind of goes off… That’s a lot of lost revenue that our citizens are participating with, and we’re getting nothing out of it…”
North Carolina Senator Paul Lowe
Offshore sportsbooks also offer political betting as well as entertainment gambling. North Carolina gambling laws do not forbid election betting but stateside books have traditionally opted out of the market.
While there is no metric for tracking offshore sportsbooks and the revenue that flows into them from each state in the USA, there are marked differentials in the totals reported by regions that allow for online sports betting versus those that do not.
The variances in the state-by-state sportsbook revenue reports give some clue as to the number of gambling dollars that are spent online, and represent a sizable chunk of what would be otherwise traveling overseas if domestic options were not in place.
Early revenue projections suggest that North Carolina’s total handle, once mobile options are regulated, will be similar to that of Virginia due to population size and vendor allotment.
The North Carolina state legislature will convene on June 30th. Check back here at SBL for updates on the status of legal sports betting in North Carolina.